Thumbnail image of: Urinary System: Illustration

Blood in Urine

What does blood in the urine look like?

Even a small amount of blood can make the urine look pink, red, or sometimes brown. Sometimes the blood can be seen only with a microscope.

Blood in the urine should always be checked by your healthcare provider.

What causes blood in urine?

The urinary tract includes the:

  • Kidneys, which make urine
  • Ureters, which are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder
  • Bladder, which stores urine
  • Urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from the bladder

A number of things may cause bleeding in the urinary tract. Some common causes of blood in the urine are:

  • Kidney or bladder infection
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • An infection of the prostate gland or epididymis (the firm tube at the back of a boy’s or man’s testicle)
  • Intense exercise
  • A reaction of your immune system after an infection, such as a cold
  • Injury to any part of the urinary tract (for example, a fall might bruise the kidney)
  • Kidney disease
  • Some diseases, such as sickle cell anemia or lupus
  • Some medicines, like antibiotics or medicines that help prevent blood clots
  • A tumor in the urinary tract

Certain kinds of foods, such as beets or blackberries, may give the urine a reddish tint. This should last only for a day or so after eating these foods. A few medicines may also turn the urine reddish. If you have started a new medicine and notice a color change in your urine, call your pharmacist to see if it’s normal.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about other symptoms and your medical history and examine you. Tests may include:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • An ultrasound, which uses sound waves to show pictures of the bladder and kidneys
  • Intravenous pyelogram, which uses dye and X-rays to take pictures of the urinary tract
  • Cystoscopy, which uses a small lighted tube passed through the urethra into the bladder to look at the bladder, urethra, and prostate gland

How is it treated?

The treatment of blood in the urine depends on its cause. Your healthcare provider will recommend treatment and follow-up depending on the results of your medical history, your exam and test results.

How can I take care of myself?

Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-01-02
Last reviewed: 2014-12-31
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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